An Easy V-Day Card and Pictures from YOU!

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I'm here to share a simple and sweet Valentine's Card/Craft idea with you!  Joelle is all about making cards for people.  She especially loves mailing things to her grandparents or anyone who will happily receive mail from her, ha!  More than that, she absolutely loves creating and making things.  Last night we got to crafting so that she could hand out valentines to her loved ones over the weekend.  This took hardly no time at all, so she was able to make several of them!
1.  You'll need white, black, and red paper.
2.  Cut the black paper into strips.  I did 2" inch strips using my paper cutter, but your students could easily measure it out and cut it themselves!
3.  Space the black strips out on the white paper leaving some space in between.
4.  Trace a handprint on red paper and cut it out.
5.  Glue the handprint onto the middle of your paper, folding the two fingers down to make the "I love you" symbol.
6.  Write a short note in the middle of the handprint!
Easy enough, right?!  If you are studying measuring then I would definitely have my students measure the strips to incorporate this with math!  

This is the paper cutter that I got for Christmas this year.  So far, I love it!  I have also heard really great reviews from other teachers :)
Before I go, I wanted to share pictures of what Rooted in Reading looks like in other classrooms!  I so LOVE seeing these pictures on Instagram each week!  I'm hoping to continue sharing more, so make sure to use #rootedinreading or tag me at @stepintosecondgrade!

Here are some great pictures from RIR January.  How great are these MLK directed drawings??
And these snow friends?!  Oh my!  And, I'm loving how bright and colorful her display is!
Looking to organize your RIR materials?  This is a great idea!!
I sure hope you have a great rest of the week!

February Books

February is a month jam-packed with lots of great holidays... Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, President's Day, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, and even a few others that I didn't mention!  One thing that Katie and I love to do is incorporate the holidays into our Rooted in Reading units.  We look for books that would be fun for your students during the holidays but that are also going to grow them as readers and thinkers.  I wanted to give you a better look at the books and skills that are included in Rooted in Reading February.

Comprehension Focus:  Character and Text Analysis
Grammar:  Subject-Verb Agreement
Comprehension Focus:  Point of View
Grammar:  Abbreviations
Comprehension Focus:  Nonfiction
Grammar:  Capitalization
Comprehension Focus:  Mood
Grammar:  Conjunctions
And, if you are wanting to plan ahead... March is well underway!  Be looking for it in the next couple of weeks!

Valentine's Day ideas and freebies!

Are you getting geared up for Valentine's Day yet?  I love me a little Heart Day, but sometimes it can be really hard to navigate during the school day.  It's a holiday, but not a holiday where you get time off from school... so, that can make it a little tough!  Thankfully our party is on that Friday afternoon, so we do get to load them up with sugar and then send them on their merry way!

As soon as Target put up their Valentine's Day stuff, I grabbed a couple of goodies for my classroom and Joelle's classroom.  Instead of making the cards specific to the gift, I decided to just go with a generic card that would work with anything!  You can grab the card HERE for free!
I just quickly signed my name at the bottom and taped the glasses on top... easy peasy!  I've got to keep it simple since I have two classes of cards to assemble!
For Joelle's class, we used the heart ring erasers from Target.  I slid a piece of tape through the ring and voila!  done and done!
Now I have exactly 64 valentines assembled and ready to go for next week!  As for the party goes, my team is using Sign Up Genius for parents to sign up to bring the party goods, but they needed a quick reminder note, so I made them this one.  You can also use Volunteer Spot or Bloomz.
If you need a quick note, I'm sharing this one with you!  Simply add a text box and type your info inside of the blank space!  You can grab this freebie HERE
And, if you are wanting to incorporate a little bit of Vday into your lessons, but still keep the content rich and meaningful, make sure to read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch!  You can watch it read online HERE.  I loved seeing how Michelle's class incorporated our Mr. Hatch reading activity into her day last week!  This is just one of the many activities in Rooted in Reading February!  It's the perfect book to really dig into and have deep conversations with!  Thanks to Michelle for sharing!
This isn't Valentines related, but our sweet girl will be celebrating her 3rd Gotcha Day this weekend so I've been prepping away for that special day!  Sometimes I can't believe it's only been three years and sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday!  She's just growing up way too fast for my liking!

Anchor Charts

It's February!  Can you believe it?!  You only have 4ish more months until you are basking under the sun, resting, relaxing, and cherishing every bit of family time you get!  While you are still in the classroom and teaching your little heart out, I wanted to share with you a little bit about how I prep and use anchor charts in my classroom!

First of all, here are my anchor chart necessities.  It's really all very basic, but these are my tried and true materials that I keep going back to year after year!
1.  I have a new found love for Post-It Note Anchor Chart paper.  It's a little pricey BUT markers don't bleed through!  AND, it has sticky on the back so you can just plop it right up on your board!  There aren't any lines, but that's fine by me!
2.  Mr. Sketch markers are my favorite to write with... it's an added bonus that they smell great!  I like keeping thick and thin markers on hand.
3.  Lined Chart paper is also nice to keep around because you can keep your writing nice and tidy!
4.  Post it notes are CRUCIAL so that you can reuse your charts year after year!
5.  Highlighter tape is great for when you are teaching a lesson.  You can highlight words with the tape and remove it when finished.  Think of highlighting rhymes, parts of speech, sight words, etc!
6.  Cover-Up Tape=LIFESAVER!  OMG, I still make errors on my charts... even after all these years!  No need to start over... you can just cover it up with a piece of white tape. #bestillmyheart 
7.  If you are using thick paper then you can never have enough sharpies.  They will definitely bleed through the thin paper #beware

Here are some of my anchor charts from over the years.  I use them across all subject areas and keep them stored from year to year.  I would share how I store them, but it's awful.  Here's a great idea from Teaching With A Mountain View:
Some of these charts I make ahead of time, some on the spot, and some after a lesson.  Many times I'll take a simple chart we did on the whiteboard and turn it into a "keep" chart later on.  That way the chart has my students' ideas on it, but it's in a visually appealing format!  Because, it's pretty much impossible to draw and color while teaching a lesson, ha!
 A lot of the times I will prep the meat of the chart in advance, and then fill in the chart with brainstorming ideas while teaching the lesson.  You'll see that in the turtles, valuable verbs, verbs, and pronoun charts below.
 Lately I've been using sticky notes more and more.  I realized that I was spending tons of time drawing and coloring and then having to chunk my charts!  So, I started prepping the chart (and leaving space for sticky notes), laminating in advance, and then using the sticky notes with my students while the lesson is occurring.  Now, I can just trash the sticky notes and keep the charts!  That's a win-win! 
For sure, the most meaningful charts are the ones that the students help create and make.  Their ideas help to keep the charts personal for them.  So, when in doubt, have your kiddos take the lead and the will surprise you more often than not!

New Fraction Ideas, Freebies, and Videos!

Our 2nd graders have been focusing on fractions for the past couple of weeks.  Next week we are finishing up our unit, so I wanted to come up with a few new activities for our kiddos to do.

One of the concepts we are going to work on is understanding that the fewer the parts, the larger the size of the parts/the more the parts, the smaller the size of the parts.  Goodness... there's got to be a better way to say all of that, ha!  I made this poster to display throughout the week.  You can grab that HERE :)

We are also going to work on going beyond the whole.  I didn't have anything for that, so I made some word problems that we will complete in our math spirals.  These have been added to my Fraction Unit, so if you already own it make sure you redownload for the update!
 We are also going to sort fractions based on if they are labeled correctly :)
Anytime I can find songs or videos to accompany my math theme, I make sure to save those links!  My kids love a catchy tune :)

 They will also continue naming fractions and sorting them based on their parts.  For this sort we are also going to order the fractions in each category based on the amount that is shaded :)
 We will finish the week with this simple craftivity (also added to my Fraction Unit) where we will make a snowman that shows fractions shaded beyond the whole.  
Want other fraction ideas, click HERE

And, here are some old fraction freebies that you might enjoy!

Just right click to save these images :)
Click HERE for a couple of fraction printable freebies

Click below for a fraction chant!
And, if you want ever more, check out these freebies from Smitten With First!
Last but not least, here are some of my favorite fraction goodies!

Now it's time for dinner and family night!  Have a wonderful evening!!

The COMPLETE Book List!

When Katie and I started Rooted in Reading back in October, we really weren't thinking that far ahead.  We knew we would want to do it each month, but we didn't know exactly what that would look like.  Now that we are five months deep into the project, we realize that many teachers would love to know the books WAY in advance... which I love because I, myself, am a planner.  If I could have all of my lesson plans written, copies made, and emails to parents prepped before school started I would totally do so!  So, we finally sat down (thousands of miles apart) and nailed down the remaining Rooted in Reading books.  Y'all, we don't take choosing these books lightly.  If you could see my Amazon purchases you would probably cry over the amount of money spent just on choosing the perfect books.  There are sooooo many really great books out there, but we try to keep a few things in mind:

1.  Are the books meaty enough to study for a week?
2.  Can we make connections to the book with other books we have in our classrooms?
3.  Are these books going to be LOVED by both teachers AND students??!

Now, we realize that some of the books have been difficult to find or purchase at the last minute.  That's why we wanted to give you all TEN months of books in one easy spot.  We also realize that some of you are purchasing these books with your hard-earned money.  So, having this list in advance will give you time to thrift, bargain, and hunt down the best deals.  I would email my librarian, staff, and even parents asking if they had access to any of these books.  Maybe you could even talk your principal into buying the books for your classroom or grade level!  We know several people who have had success with just that!  So, without further adieu, here are the books we have selected...
To make life a little easier we have included all of the titles in one easy-to-print document so that you can keep it in your purse while thrifting, submit it to your librarian/admin, or keep by your desk when you are online shopping!  You can download the list HERE!

I don't think that Amazon always has the best prices, but you just can't beat their one-click shopping and fast shipping.  These books are available on many different websites, but for the sake of saving time, here are the links for purchasing at Amazon:

August (unit not yet released):
September (unit not yet released):
October (HERE for the unit):
November (HERE for the unit):
December (HERE for the unit):
January (along with biographies about MLK) (HERE for the unit):
February (HERE for the unit):
March (unit not yet released):
April (unit not yet released):
May (unit not yet released):
As the months approach we will continue to share the books and where you can find online read-alouds or better shopping deals.  Many of these books are also available on Scholastic... use those bonus points you have saved up!

Before I go, I just have to share our MLK directed drawings my class did last week.  We didn't have quite as much time as normal, but they are still cute nonetheless!
We truly hope that having the list in advance helps you out!  Happy Book Shopping!

MLK activities, videos, and freebies!

We are gearing up for all things MLK this week, how about you?!  Normally I wait until after my students complete their activities to show you what we did, but I know some of you may like these resources and videos before starting your week!

We will be reading a lot of MLK books throughout the week.  There are soooo many out there that are really good!  Katie and I added this MLK nonfiction reader to our unit so that our kids could have something to use throughout the week while completing all of their activities.  I love nonfiction readers because I can print them 2-to-a-page and put them on my table groups for my kids to share!
Here's how I print two-to-a-page if you are interested!
Also, I made these flap-ups that can be used with the nonfiction reader.  You can grab that HERE!
(Clipart:  From the Pond, Educlips)
We are definitely going to chart words that tell us about MLK.  I'll use sticky notes so that I can use this chart again! 
I'll let my kids generate our words, but here are some great ones to get them started!  You can grab this freebie HERE!
(Clipart:  Melonheadz)
Once we've charted and discussed, it will be time for a little directed drawing and writing about this hero!
We will also spend a lot of the week talking about how much of an impact Dr. King's words made on our world.  Here's a video of Martin's Big Words that we will watch!
We will also analyze several of his quotes and write/draw what they mean to us.
Then, we will focus on the dreams that we have now.  This little craft will also serve as a booklet to write about our dreams.
Here are some other MLK books that I found online if you are interested!

Our grammar focus is using commas in dates and in a series of words.  I wanted my students to continue learning about MLK even in grammar, so all of our activities will integrate reading and grammar!

As we are reading and learning, we will jot down important dates and events in the life of MLK
We will make this flapbook to write dates about four important events
And, we will put a timeline of MLK events in order as well as add commas in the appropriate places!  This activity incorporates a lot of skills!
Here is a fun video that we will watch about commas:

I can't wait to see how my kiddos do this week!  I'm sure they won't even realize how much learning/working they are doing!!!

And, just in case you are planning ahead... February has been released!  You can find all of the details HERE!